A wave of faux-eaux has been hitting the shelves of late: sparkling hesperidic compositions that cater to the taste for light, gauzy, non-perfumey fragrances while adding a bit of heft, body and lasting power to the traditional cologne. Who's to complain? I'd much rather smell the citrusy version of clean than the fabric softener variety...
With its citrus-floral-moss structure, L’Eau Mixte, Patricia de Nicolaï’s tribute to the fragrances of Sicily and the house’s first explicitly non-gendered fragrance, is a bow to the great late-Sixties hesperidic chypres pioneered by Eau Sauvage. The twist is given by the pairing of grapefruit and rose -- the grapefruit pulling up the citrusy facets of the rose and the rose sweetening the grapefruit’s sulfurous/sweaty edges. True, Jean-Claude Ellena has been working the accord for over a decade, from the 1998 In Love Again (Yves Saint Laurent) to the 2009 Eau de Pamplemousse Rose: but Patricia de Nicolaï infuses it with her particular brand of classicism – the mossy rose is even slightly reminiscent of Guerlain’s late Parure.
Not unlike Annick Goutal’s Ninfeo Mio with which it shares a blackcurrant bud top note, whose greenness is reinforced here by a sprig of mint – the green, slightly sulfurous bourgeon cassis picking up the similarly sulfurous facet of grapefruit – L’Eau Mixte is actually a full-bodied perfume posing as an eau de cologne. As the scent progresses, a transparent, yet fairly substantial rose and jasmine heart engulfs the green/citrus top notes; vetiver tugs the grapefruit facet all the way into the oak moss drydown. Cinnamon warms the blend.
Sillage is discreet, but for a citrus scent, the lasting power is quite remarkable.
L’Eau Mixte may not come off as mind-bogglingly original, but in some ways it’s better than that: a perfectly balanced, pastel-coloured hesperidic chypre with a grapefruit twist. Parfums de Nicolaï has also launching a mood-lifting house spray reprising the same accord, Un Soir en Sicile.
If you would like a preview of L’Eau Mixte, please drop a comment: I will be drawing two samples.
Illustration: the Trinacria, which is the emblem of Sicily.